Sports Outside the Beltway

Colorado Rockies Love Jesus, Not Naked Chicks

The Colorado Rockies are turning to Jesus in hopes of winning more games, reports USA Today in yesterday’s edition.

No copies of Playboy or Penthouse are in the clubhouse of baseball’s Colorado Rockies. There’s not even a Maxim. The only reading materials are daily newspapers, sports and car magazines and the Bible.

Music filled with obscenities, wildly popular with youth today and in many other clubhouses, is not played. A player will curse occasionally but usually in hushed tones. Quotes from Scripture are posted in the weight room. Chapel service is packed on Sundays. Prayer and fellowship groups each Tuesday are well-attended. It’s not unusual for the front office executives to pray together.

On the field, the Rockies are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons and only the second time in their 14-year history. Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity — open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.

Of course, the team is at the bottom of the NL West at the moment, behind teams from sin capitals Los Angeles and San Francisco. Still, healing takes time.

Amusingly, the Rockies’ players are vehemently denying that they’re a bunch of Goodie Two Shoes in today’s Denver Post.

Character, not religion, is the critical factor in the Rockies’ chemistry, according to the players. That explains why so many players reacted negatively to the portrayal of their clubhouse in a USA Today cover story in Wednesday’s editions that stressed the importance of Christianity.

“It was just bad. I am not happy at all. Some of the best teammates I have ever had are the furthest thing from Christian,” pitcher Jason Jennings said. “You don’t have to be a Christian to have good character. They can be separate. It was misleading.”

Todd Helton and Jennings were quoted supporting the article’s premise regarding religion’s role in the clubhouse. But both said they never were asked about religion, and were questioned only in general terms about the clubhouse environment. “I wouldn’t say it was accurate. (The writer) asked me about the guys in here and I said it’s a good group. We work hard and get along well,” Helton said.

The story stated that men’s magazines such as Playboy, Penthouse and Maxim could not be found in the Rockies’ clubhouse, but that Bibles were present. Several players read Maxim in the visiting clubhouse during the Padres’ series this week. Two separate issues sat on the center coffee table Wednesday.

I should point out that the visitors took 2 of 3 games. Never underestimate the power of hot chicks in lingerie.

“I have never seen a Bible (out in the open) in our clubhouse,” said pitcher Aaron Cook, who has led the team’s chapel service during spring training. “Most of the guys on this team are Christians, but not all of them. And the fact is you don’t build a winner around just Christians. If that was the case, everybody would be doing it.”

Indeed, notorious hedonists like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle have led teams to plenty of championships.

Michelle Malkin thinks, “The world is upside-down” when players are so loathe to be labeled as “Christians.” My guess, though, is that they just don’t want to be portrayed as inaccurately. They don’t shy away from the “good character” label, just the idea that they’re religious zealots who don’t have a good time.

Asked what role religion plays in the team’s roster construction, Hurdle said, “We look for men of character, men of skills. Their (religious beliefs) are not a question that is even brought up. That those have a common fabric with Christianity is not a coincidence. But values are the issue.”

Quite right. Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox has long banned loud music of any variety, forbids the wearing of earrings and other jewelry while in uniform, and similar measures. He does it because he wants to create an atmosphere of professionalism and to avoid tensions in the locker room.


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